A PMO Manager needs to be able to tailor and present their ideas to different audiences to gain their buy-in and support for a PMO function.
A result of being a good sales person and communicator is the PMO leader will recruit sponsorship and support for the PMO from senior management and the business which is a critical success factor for a PMO continuity.
2) A STRONG LEADER
PMO’s to quote a popular expression are often between “a rock and hard place” in terms of managing conflicting priorities, project portfolios and meeting all the changing requirements of senior management and the business.
When problems do arise as they will inevitably will “usually on a daily basis”, a PMO Manager needs to be decisive, be confident to take difficult decisions and will need to decide what to do and take the right actions at the right time with the right people.
A PMO Manager ensures the PMO is set up for success with having well-defined and achievable goals and objectives aligned with the organisation.
In addition, the PMO will have to be organised and managed well to meet the daily priorities of managing and reporting on a portfolio of projects.
Other characteristics of strong leaders are they are often well prepared, they are good problem solvers, they lead by example and by being seen a as a people person, they motivate their staff to be their best in their respective functions within the PMO.
A successful PMO Manager mentors their staff on the balance of business needs and the adherence to consistent processes and that any bureaucracy should be of value and kept to a minimum.
Whether directly or indirectly depending on the organisation, a successful PMO Manager should provide leadership for the project managers, treat them as valuable stakeholders and ensure that the PMO is focused on adding value on making them and their projects successful.
3) ALIGNED WITH THE BUSINESS
Also that he can communicate with business people in their “business language” and align the PMO services with the needs of the business.
On a strategic level, they should be aware of all key business strategies so they have a big picture view of where the business is now and where it wants to go and how the PMO can help the business achieve their goals and move forward to the future.
The PMO needs to be viewed as supporting the business strategy and goals.
Company politics can play a major part in most organisations impacting decisions and opinions so PMO’s leaders need to have good peripheral vision so they can navigate these power struggles successfully.
4) BE A GOOD RISK MANAGER
Performing a risk assessment on the PMO is a good leadership practice so any potential risks for the PMO can be mitigated going forwards.
5) BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE
Existing waterfall PMO’s have struggled with the increasing adoption of Agile and other project methodologies within organisations and this is often a test of the flexibility and adaptability of the PMO function.
6) SHOW VISIBLE VALUE
One area that is undeveloped in many organisations is the measurement and realisation of benefits which would be very visible value for a PMO Manager.
Hopefully I have captured many of the characteristics required for a successful PMO Manager which is a very demanding role that requires the characteristics of a senior management role.